I attended the University of Western Ontario to enhance my education by earning a degree and to gain further personal life experience. This experience taught me many things both in the classroom and away from it. While in classes both within my major and outside of it I was able to explore my interests including subjects like painting, photography, media studies, psychology, and history. Thinking critically came in handy as a definite tool, especially in conjunction with time management skills as taking 24 hours to paint something had to go hand in hand with hours of studying and writing essays especially while keeping mindful of all of their determined purposes and goals.
During the time at Western I also worked part-time a mac lab assistant helping students using programs like Photoshop and answering general questions about the operations of the computers as well as devices around the lab. It was a great learning experiences for me also helping my gain real-world experiences problem solving to achieve goals that were asked of me. This is something I love doing. Especially with a tool as diverse as Photoshop. There may be 100 ways to do something that can all achieve the same result and sometimes the best way to do it may change from one application to another. Juggling all these methods and thinking critically to help someone at the same time was definitely enjoyable.
Upon graduating in the spring of 2006 I took many of the lessons learned with me and will always look back on this time with admiration.
Coming out of university I worked with my old boss who had started a pool construction company named Caliber Pools. We had worked together over the last four summers with another pool and landscaping company Solda Pools.
In Solda Pools I had started out in the service side of the business opening pools and working alongside plumbers in both servicing and repairing pools. From there I moved over to the construction side where I worked as a concrete cutter. I learned a great deal about what it takes to make and sell some high-end products, as some pool and backyard packages would sell for a million dollars and over. Teamwork and coordination were definitely inherent in the process the entire time. Failure in timing or analytical thinking could mean that the product resulted in noticeable defects spoiling work for the entire construction team.
It was at Caliber Pools that my roles became more diverse. As we were a small firm it was up to everyone to carry their own weight and then some. Working on things such as pool construction, pool plumbing, general carpentry, masonry, and pool renovation, hard work was necessary from beginning until the end. This was also where I learned more about leadership and took on some more leadership roles. Leading crews from time to time in order to get various tasks and jobs completed.
Landscape and pool construction was part of my life for 5 years in both Solda Pools and Caliber Pools and I decided to push myself and see where it may lead me. And this is when I decided to put my mind to it and pursue a job in advertising. And after meeting with a few creative directors the message was clear. I had to put a portfolio together.
This process led me to Humber College and Advertising and Graphic Design. After my experience talking to people in the industry I began reading books on advertising and what it takes to make great ads. Coupled with the coursework I was able to expand my knowledge of both the tools and the theory to start putting a portfolio together. Humber College and this time in my life taught me a lot about just how far dedication and drive can take you.
I was one of two people in my graduating class in the Advertising stream that gained an internship directly into an advertising agency after graduation.
After my internship at Agency'59 they decided to keep me on. Under Brian Howlett, as my creative director, I began to make real world advertising. Stretching my legs and working with big brands like Telus Business Solutions, Egg Farmers Ontario, Waste Management, I learned some more of what its like to work with more corporate clients and was ever vigilant. But what really was instilled in me was the real world creative problem solving abilities that I possessed and don't shy away form now.
Taking a concrete problem and then coming up with a solution that can directly or indirectly address that problem based on creative and analytical strategy was really something I cherish. There was a lot of work that went into the process in between that took unbelievable hard work but I believe that goal driven hard work isn't that hard to accomplish when one can view a goal and a reason why. You can then base all your future decisions around that reason and be confident in it. This type of strategic thinking has since gained ground in how I tackle all problems and has helped me overcome a lot.
Agency'59 was also my first brush with working with more complex web technologies. I started my first Flash work here and art directed my first Flash banners here.
From Agency'59 I decided to focus on interactive work and the interactive medium. Interactive meaning interactive web design and applications.
I know all these terms, technologies and languages may seem like gobbligook to some but these are the basic technologies of the web and some phone apps. For me my main drive in coming from the art side to some of the coding side was to challenge myself and to also satisfy some of my curiosity.
But I think what this really proved was that I can push myself in very different directions and succeed. I did it before moving from landscape and pool construction to advertising and once again moving from the art and design side to more of one of scripting and computer languages and code. Gaining high honours for graduation compounded this fact.
While attending Sheridan College I was also still freelancing on the side, making print advertising for companies, and I decided afterwards to continue this practice and to see what experience in different locations I could gain.
My first freelancing experience out of Sheridan College was with Scotiabank Group, working on their intranet website. The corporate environment was a nice change for me coming from working in other types before.
From here I went back to a more agency environment with Syncapse in Toronto. My versatility served me well as I was again in more of a design role at Syncapse. But truly did enjoy my time there and was rewarded with a subsequent contract.
All the while I was working for companies in downtown Toronto I was also making websites for small and medium sized companies. And it was this experience that I decided to expand upon and venture out on my own. Those that may know me may be shocked and they may have been right as this practice didn't really serve me well and prompted me to change some tactics.
Changing tactics is certainly what I did when I decided to focus on Project Management and my goal of becoming a Project Coordinator. But I have changed streams before as when I moved from landscape and pool construction to advertising and then from advertising to coding.
I knew from my past experience I had the smarts, determination and problem solving capacity, so I took it on myself and applied some of my dedication and drive again and starting reading more about project management with books like "Project Management the Managerial Process" by Larson and Gray; "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)" Fifth Edition; "Introduction to Managerial Accounting" by Brewer, Garrison, Noreen, Kalagnanam, and Vaidyanathan.
From these I am now a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). And I am excited to start a new career as a Project Coordinator.